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Tuesday open thread

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Filed Under Open Thread on Jul 31 

All eyes are on Texas tonight and the Senate runoff between establishment pick Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz. What’s your prediction?

You’ve probably read a 100 stories about the election being 100 days away. But if you didn’t catch James Taranto’s, you missed one of the best. Read why he thinks “Obama supporters suffer a crisis of confidence.”

Finally, Romney is out with a new ad that’s a bit warmer and fuzzier than the hard hitting spots they’ve mostly run. Is this a temporary pivot or a signal of a new strategy?

Why did the chicken cross the road? In Chicago, it was to get to Logan Square. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Alderman “Joe” Moreno are turning the area into the city’s first chicken sanctuary. In case you spent last week on the dark side of the moon, let me explain: Chicago’s rulers are resisting Chick-fil-A’s plans for a new restaurant due to its corporate opposition to homosexual marriage.

Moreno vowed to keep Chick-fil-A out of his district. Emmanuel was a bit more reserved, content to say the company doesn’t measure up to “Chicago values.” Now, let’s remember that Rahm is trumpeting the values of the nation’s most corrupt political city. How can Chick-fil-A reflect “Chicago values”, provide free sandwiches to every Chicagoan who rises from the grave on Election Day? Read more

The Democrats are planning a heavy dose of Bill Clinton at their national convention later this summer, using the former President to officially nominate the current one, and to deliver a major prime-time speech.

This article in The Washington Post examines the difficulties undecided voters are having a tough time deciding, and highlights four counties in four states that could decide the election.

The latest stop on the Romney World Tour has the GOP Nominee in Jerusalem, where he made the case for a strong defense of Israel.

This ad has received significant play time during NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. What do you think of it?

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An unnamed an unknown adviser of Mitt Romney allegedly told the UK’s Telegraph that “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”. President Obama Senior Adviser David Axelrod jumped right on this saying: “Mitt’s trip off to flying start, even before he lands, with stunningly offensive quotes from his team in British press.” Do you think an actual Romney adviser said this? Or it is merely a drummed up controversy? Is using the term “Anglo-Saxon” actually offensive?

We haven’t discussed Chick-fil-a President Dan Cathy’s comments to the Baptist Press saying: “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit” which has got the mayors of Boston and Chicago all riled up. Should a business leader provide social commentary on the issues of our age? What do you think of politicians promising to block businesses from operating due differences in the political views?

On a lighter note, should you rob a bank? An economist analyzes what your likely take would be, based on data in the US and UK as well as the probability of being caught.

It can be argued that mankind is nature’s perfect contradiction. We seldom consider issues for which there are logical conclusions. Yet when confronted with senseless violence we’ll make vain attempts to rationalize irrationality. But no matter how hard we work, satisfactory results are unachievable. Explaining the unexplainable is like pushing breakers back into the ocean. So it goes in the aftermath of the Aurora massacre, as pundit after pundit blames firearms and the Second Amendment for the carnage.  Read more

The latest ads from the Obama campaign were filmed in the West Wing of the White House, which is an unusual, but not unique venue for campaign commercials to be filmed.

Mitt Romney is hitting the White House over the security leak issue, continuing his campaign’s theme this week of highlighting foreign policy.

Two current takes on the election, with Michael Medved making a case why President Obama faces an uphill climb, and then Real Clear Politics on why Romney seems to be spinning his wheels in the polls.

Please enjoy this guest post submitted from a member of the armed forces who is not at liberty to use their name.

Recently, Michele Bachman has come under fire for raising inquiries regarding Huma Weiner and her proximity to the Secretary of State. Both Republicans and Democrats have taken this opportunity to trash Congresswoman Bachman for her ‘Islamophobic’ positions, and her insensitivity towards a woman supposedly doing her job, serving our country as a patriotic American who also gives the State Department a unique perspective on Islamic ideals and attitudes.
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Scott Brown opens his latest ad with a clip from Bill Clinton.

It is wonderful to live in an age where you can turn on the television at any hour and find out the most recent news on a multitude of stations. However, with that much programming time that must be filled comes the inevitable gaps in real news and the tendency to let a big story take over. This is exactly what we have seen with the Aurora shooter story. Do you find it necessary to analyze and over-analyze every aspect of this horrific crime? Does the constant storyline all over television serve to motivate people who want celebrity status to commit other heinous crimes?

By now, most are aware of ABC News’ Brian Ross recklessly trying to link the shooting to the Tea Party, as Feinstein discussed yesterday and Jon Stewart just obliterated. However, it appears that ABC News also took the shooter’s mother entirely out of context to paint a specific narrative for creating “news”. Do you trust the “news” or is this only another reminder that the media exists for one purpose: To make money.

Finally, the NCAA went outside of its normal review process to expedite the penalties placed upon Penn State which include a $60 million fine and the loss of 40 new scholarships over the next four years, which will decimate the football program. There is logic behind hammering the football program due to the lack of university control, which the NCAA commonly punishes member schools for. However, was it right to fine the school $60 million, which, as a state school, is effectively fining the citizens of Pennsylvania $60 million over the actions (or inaction) of a few people?

It’s that liberal MSM thing again, the double standard.

Democrats fall over themselves so much with their pandering, selective PC reporting, it’s just amazing, and it goes pretty much unnoticed because it’s well nigh impossible to point out or prove the reason for the absence of something.

But let a black person or a Muslim or a Democratic politician commit a crime–or even be suspected of doing something wrong–and the mainstream news report generally won’t mention their religion, race or party. That’s particularly idiotic in the case of race, because it’s an obvious visual factor that could help solve the crime or find an unapprehended suspect, but most newspapers and local TV reporters are loathe to do it, lest they be accused of the “r” word.” If a Republican politician commits some wrongdoing, then the “R” flashes across the screen a million times, but nearly not so much at all when it’s a “D” or a favored special-interest group.
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Mitt Romney is seeking to prop up his foreign policy cred with a seven day trip abroad, and the highlight is a visit to London for the Olympics, where he is sure to make a mention or two of his heroics in salvaging the financially troubled Salt Lake City games a decade ago.

The comparisons of 2012 to 2004 continue to pop up, both in terms of the similarity in approval numbers for Dubbya and Obama, as well as the challengers to those popularity-challenged incumbents:

The president is a polarizing figure whose reelection is imperiled by his handling of the nation’s No. 1 issue. However, he’s blessed with an opponent who is easy to attack — a rich Massachusetts patrician with seemingly flexible convictions and a personality that impedes any visceral connection with voters.

But enough about George W. Bush and John Kerry.

Happy Monday!

Lightning struck twice in Colorado last night, as a 24-year-old man entered a packed midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”, threw a smoke bomb, and then started shooting randomly into the crowd. Twelve people were killed and dozens of others were injured at the Aurora theater, which is a suburb of Denver and located just 13 miles from Littleton, the site of the 1999 Columbine massacre.

One has to wonder how long it will take for this sad event to get politicized, as we sit in the looming shadow of a presidential campaign.

Speaking of the campaign, polling numbers in the wake of the continued poor economic news and a round of Bain-themed attack ads are not a welcome site to the White House.

Oh yah, still no Veep announcement, but it is coming soon!

John Stossel discusses minimum wage and its unintended consequences. It might remind you of Milton Friedman’s well know statements on the issue or the 50 years of Congressional research on the impact of minimum wage.

Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw has been reviewing data recently released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and this is what he found:

Because transfer payments are, in effect, the opposite of taxes, it makes sense to look not just at taxes paid, but at taxes paid minus transfers received. For 2009, the most recent year available, here are taxes less transfers as a percentage of market income (income that households earned from their work and savings):

Bottom quintile: -301 percent
Second quintile: -42 percent
Middle quintile: -5 percent
Fourth quintile: 10 percent
Highest quintile: 22 percent

Top one percent: 28 percent
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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke described a less than thrilling outlook for the U.S. economy yesterday, and analysts cite the fear of a “fiscal cliff” coming next year. This “cliff” consists of a series of governmental spending cuts and tax increases both due at about the same time. One wonders if internally, Mitt Romney is doing the Snoopy dance.

Events in Syria continue to deteriorate, as a top defense official and the brother-in-law of President Assad were killed by a suicide bomber. Foreign Policy continues to simmer behind the economy in the pecking order of campaign issues, but keep an eye on it.

And finally breaking news – Mitt Romney has not announced his running mate yet, but may this week. Or next week. Or after the Olympics. Or at the Republican National Convention. Certainly by then. Absolutely. I think.

The media is filled with speculation on who Mitt Romney’s running mate choice will be. However, none of them actually know who it will be. You may continue the speculation in the comments.

Doctors and nurses in the UK’s national health system are likely facing a 5% reducing in wages, the work day extended by 25 minutes (which is the same as cutting wages further), reductions in overtime, and two fewer vacation days. How much incentive is there for Britain’s best and brightest to pursue a career in healthcare?

Street lights in one Brazilian city are being powered by inmates who are being offered reduced sentences for choosing to ride stationary bicycles that charge batteries. Would this or another similar system be effective in the US?

A 71 year old man in Florida used his concealed .38 to fend off thugs who were intent on robbing the internet cafe he was patronizing. Watch the video at the link. Do you agree with what he did? Would you do the same?

Last year I had a few opportunities to navigate the highway maze that is Houston in the great state of Texas. Were it not for my trusty Garmin Nuvi I would still be trying to find my way out of that labyrinth. One day as I was driving along a Houston freeway I came across a billboard advertising legal help to anyone who had been the victim of “mistaken identity”. All anyone need do when faced with this problem is call the catchy phone number 713 WASNTME.
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Today we will ask for your thoughts on President Obama’s recent campaign speech in Roanoke, Virginia.

Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

You may also watch the extended remarks in the video after the jump. Read more